What Is So Special About Kona Coffee?

If you look for the most high-quality coffee in the world, you'll come across the name Kona, but what exactly is this drink that so many people adore? What is so special about Kona coffee? To answer this question we need to read about its history, manufacturing, flavor, and other details that distinguish this variety of coffee from others on the market.

What Is So Special About Kona Coffee?

Kona coffee is considered so special for its pleasant flavor, delightful aroma. This coffee distinguishes itself from other varieties due to its superior agricultural location and production methods. 

Freshly brewed coffee in a mug

Even famous novelist Mark Twain stated that Kona coffee had "a greater flavor than any other, be it produced where it may and called by whatever name you want." Coffee connoisseurs can look from New York to San Francisco for coffee with a pleasing flavor profile, but none compare to Kona coffee cultivated on Hawaii's Big Island.

This coffee is cultivated solely in Kona, in the island of Hawaii, making it the world's rarest. The bean variety is generally Guatemalan Typica, a kind of Arabica; however, younger coffee producers are introducing new strains.

Let’s talk about the factors that make Kona coffee so special:


Kona coffee fields can only be found in one area of Hawaii known as the Kona Coffee Belt, located on the Hualalai and Mauna Loa islands in the north and south districts, respectively.

Rich Soil High in Minerals

These mountainous places feature-rich volcanic soil high in nitrates, phosphates, iron, and manganese, all of which encourage healthy plant development.

This soil is creates the perfect conditions for Kona coffee beans to grow because it is new ground that just erupted. It has a healthy concentration of nutrients and minerals that coffee seedlings require to grow into robust coffee plants on home farms. 

Ideal Weather Conditions

Because constant sun is also required to cultivate Kona coffee beans, the western half of Kona is perfect for cultivating coffee. Morning sun and cool evenings are usual, as is afternoon rain. The western slopes of Kona and the regular cloud cover provide adequate shelter to protect coffee plants from severe solar heat.Woman taking a sip of her Kona coffee

Excellent Drainage Options

For coffee producers, the western slopes of Kona offer excellent drainage options. Because precipitation runs down the hills, coffee plantations will not be flooded. These plants will survive and produce sweet-tasting beans in fields at altitudes of up to 3,000 feet and with lots of inclines in the soil.

Handpicked Beans      

Farmers take great care when picking the seeds from the bushes for processing. In Hawaii, the coffee harvest season lasts from August through December. Handpicked coffee beans are placed in a basket before being processed through a machine to remove the berry pulp and reveal the bean.


Before placing Kona coffee beans into fermentation tanks, workers meticulously wash them with fresh water. At lower heights on Kona's highlands, the beans ferment for 12 hours, while at higher elevations, they ferment for roughly 24 hours. They are then air-dried

Milling and Polishing

When coffee beans are dried, they have a rigid coating on their surface called parchment. Milling and polishing are used to remove the parchment and prepare the beans for your preferred roasting of light roast, medium roast and dark roast.

Kona Coffee's History

Horticulturist Don Francisco de Paula Marin was the first to try growing coffee beans in Hawaii in 1817. Nonetheless, it wasn't until 1828 that Samuel Ruggles succeeded in bringing coffee to the Big Island. Because Hawaii was a big sugar exporter at that time, coffee was not a focus until the last few decades.

Hermann Widemann, who introduced a kind of Guatemalan coffee bean to the island in 1892, helped to restart coffee manufacturing in Hawaii. This type is now known as Kona Typica, and it is the favorite coffee bean on the island.

Coffee beans being processed

Related Questions

Why Is Kona Coffee Different?

Kona Coffee is a symbol of craftsmanship. This coffee, unlike any other in the world, comes from an island microclimate and demands extra care to be processed with perfect detail through each stage by handpicked farmers who want their product to stand out against all others.

Why Are Konawe Arabica Beans So Famous?

Konawe Arabica beans are selected for quality because they offer fruity flavors not usually found in other types such as Robusta or Brazilian Santos without being too acidic like washed coffees

What Should You Consider Before Buying Kona Coffee?

One of the most important things when buying Kona coffees is to make sure that you know what kind it actually is. There are many different types, and some may appear similar but have subtle differences which can affect pricing significantly - 10% Kona Coffee will be much cheaper than 100% but it won’t taste the same. The same goes for proprietary coffees where they only produce specific blends, so try not to fall into this trap! Buying from Lavai Lei Coffee guarantees you get the coffee you are paying for.


Our Kona coffee is the best option if you want to taste exquisite, outstanding coffee. This coffee is revered and expensive due to its great location with nutrient-rich volcanic soil, the labor-intensive harvesting procedure, and the superb quality of the handpicked beans.

Now that you have a better grasp of Kona coffee, what makes it unique, and its rich history, it's time to have a cup.